Review by Random-J

"A Capcom classic. A superb beat 'em up."

When ‘X-Men: Children of the atom’ came onto the scene, everyone was amazed and glad that a faithful representation of the X-Men FINALLY made it's way onto the video games scene. After the barrage of crappy Marvel comics games on the SNES and Mega Drive, ‘X-Men: Children of atom’ was a breath of fresh air. It was praised for it Street Fighter like combo system over the top attacks and superb graphics which matched the Marvel comics style perfectly. Someone finally got it right. But the downside to the game was that it was deemed “Too difficult” even on the easiest setting and far too “Button bashy” for people’s tastes. Also, the conversions of the game were far from perfect. The Saturn version was an arcade perfect conversion of the arcade smash, but the PlayStation version killed the game completely due to it’s slow down and choppy animation. A PC conversion was also done, but wasn’t easy to obtain and wasn’t the format choice many gamers went for. So off went Capcom and less than a year later came ‘Marvel Super Heroes’ the successor to ‘X-Men’ and pretty much a sequel, despite the complete change in character roster and game mechanics. The game went down well with fans, as once again it boasted those tasty visuals and over the top attacks, but this time round, the game system was tightened up (even though matches can still be won by button bashers) and the difficulty was dropped down a notch. The game went down well with game critics and fans alike, but the crunch-time however came when Capcom decided to port the game to consoles and many were expecting the old Saturn = perfect conversion and PlayStation = Sloppy, unplayable conversion. But to everyone’s surprise, the PlayStation version is brilliant and rivals the Saturn version. Enough waffling from me and onto the review…

Marvel Super Heroes is a brilliant game. Everything really shines in this game. Unlike make beat ‘em ups nowadays, the character roster is a decent line up of Marvel heroes and villains all of whom are good characters in their own rights and highly playable. No more “Oh I ain’t pickin’ him he’s big and slow” as all the characters in this game are worthy of selecting and mastering. The roster consists of 10 Marvel comic characters that are playable from the start, 2 bosses (Dr. Doom and Thanos) and a secret character who hails from the DarkStalkers series. (?). All of them are kitted with Infinity attacks (which are just Super attacks which consume a level of your ‘infin'ty gauge’ a.k.a ‘super gauge’) and air combos.

The game’s gimmick comes in the Infinity gems, which are taken from the whole Thanos and Infinity gauntlet saga within the comics. These gems pop up during battle and can be picked up and used. There are 6 gems and using them gives you unique powers. The closest thing to this game is Power Stone. The gems will help you win the match, but can be lost if you are attacked and can also be used to lure players into traps and devious attacks.

The games graphics are really something special, but sadly, this is where the PlayStation loses out to the Saturn version. Due to the Saturn’s internal RAM and also the RAM cartridge, Marvel Super Heroes looks a lot better on Sega’s machine. The PlayStation version is as close to the arcade version as it’s ever gonna get, but loss of animation frames is noticeable and slow down can be quite pre-dominant when some of the more hectic Super attacks are unleashed. This however, doesn’t detract from the fact that the game has some tasty visuals and stunning backdrops. The Marvel universe has never looked more believable and true to the comics as in this game. The Graphics are really great, even to this day, 10’s and 20’s of Capcom beat ‘em ups later.
Graphics 8 / 10

The games sound is brilliant. All the characters are voiced as they are in the respective cartoon series and as you would expect them to sound. The music is also brilliant, but the only negative thing about the music is that it is very repetitive and loops far too often. Besides that though, the sound quality is good. It’s a shame there is no Sound test and some songs are worth listening to on their own.
Sound 10 / 10

The replay value in this game is what lets it down sadly. There are only 13 characters in total, which isn’t a great deal compared to many other beat ‘em ups nowadays, with Marvel VS Capcom 2 boasting 50+ characters. Also, there are only 2 play modes, ‘Aracde’ and ‘Versus’ and also a limited ‘Options’ menu. The game would have went down a lot better if it had more game modes, even if they were small things such as a ‘Training mode’, ‘Survival’, ‘Time attack’ or a Capcom VS SNK style ‘Colour edit mode.’ Sadly the lack of modes and options does let this game down, but the last-ability does come in learning new combos and ways of attacking. Bettering yourself at a game is always the lasting replay factor and it does apply here., but is still let down by the lack of options.
Replay value 4 / 10

Overall this is a solid game and does have a really innovative feature, which is s the Gems and can turn the fights around and force players to be highly offensive of extremely defensive. The PlayStation version does have a slight advantage over the Saturn version due to the joypad having more buttons, so you can switch between Gems with one button and still have 2 buttons free to compensate for your 3x kicks and 3 x punches. However, the straight set layout of the Saturn pad is better suited as it resembles the generic, well known arcade layout.

This is a solid game and worth buying if you see it cheap and shows that despite the PlayStation's in-ability to produce spot on 2d beat ‘em ups, there are still diamonds to be found among the collection and this is one of them. A great game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 01/13/03, Updated 01/13/03

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